Sunday, January 1, 2012

False Eyelash 101: How to Apply Cluster Lashes

In an age where girls would rather sell their left arm than leave the house without their big, thick strips of false lashes, there are still many women who prefer to not look like they're trying too hard.

Cluster Lashes are a favorite for brides and those who want to avoid looking like they are wearing obvious false lashes.

They look tricky and time-consuming to work with, but can actually be easier to apply for those who can't seem to get strip lashes to work. Plus, they are the ultimate lash "cheat", by helping to bulk up your natural lash volume while being pretty much undetectable to those around you (when applied properly).

The items you'll need are:

1. Flared lashes just a bit longer than your natural lashes. This usually means you need a box of Shorts, and a box of Mediums for the outer ends.
(Unfortunately, I can't locate my box of Mediums for some reason, so I'm doing the demo using Shorts, but you'll get the point.) Ardell has some of the best.

Ardell Duralash Naturals in Flare Short Black
 2. Tweezers (It's going to be hell trying to get these on with your fingers)
3. Lash Glue. These come in 2 varieties. I'm using the normal ones that you'd use to apply strip lashes because these can come off at the end of the day. When you're familiar with the application, you might want to try permanent glues (e.g. Ardell LashTite). More on this later.

Lash glues for clusters; Duo Adhesive (temporary), and Ardell Lash Tite (permanent).

The Procedure:

1. You can apply clusters BEFORE or AFTER makeup, unlike strip lashes. Applying them after makeup will allow you to reuse them more often, but the lash clusters will usually not look as "natural" as when applied before eye makeup.

2. Line up about 6 clusters with the knots facing you (exactly in the direction shown below) and dot some glue onto the TOPS of the ends, where the hairs are knotted together. I usually use 3 shorts, and 3 mediums as my natural lashes are a bit long for the Shorts, especially at the outer corners.
MAKE SURE YOU LET THE GLUE DRY FOR 45-60 SECONDS! If you see the glue on one or two of the clusters starting to go a bit grey, that's the time to start applying them. Applying before the glue is tacky will make this sooo much harder.

3: [IMPORTANT] Curl your lashes and apply mascara if you're doing your makeup before. If you curl them after you apply clusters, you may bend or pull them out of place.

4. With a pair of tweezers, pick up the lash clusters by the tips and then apply them one by one from the center of your eye outwards. And here's the big tip. GO UNDER YOUR LASHES, AND APPLY THEM ON THE TIDE-LINE, right where your lash roots meet your skin. Then use your tweezers to push them firmly upwards so they curve and meld into your natural lashes.

Many people apply them from the top down, but your own lashes will just get in the way and make it so much harder. Also, applying on the tide line makes them more invisible. When you close your eyes, nobody will see any knots or clumps of glue because the clusters are hidden below your natural lash line.

5. If you want fluttery, wispy lashes that look natural, space each cluster such that the outer tips of the clusters just touch each other. Imagine each cluster as a "V". You want to make sure the points of the V's touch each other. For a fuller, more dramatic look, let them overlap more.

6. I applied black mascara just to finish the look and show you how the clusters aren't even really visible unless someone is staring hard and searching for them 3 inches away from your face. Results would be better if I had used the Medium length Duralash clusters, but well - I guess I'll have to buy a new box.

The Alternative: "Single lashes". These are finicky to work with as you must get them pointing in EXACTLY the right direction to look good. And that's harder than it may seem. Also these will not meld into your lashes as well as flares, and are better used with permanent adhesives.

Which brings me to the note on Permanent Glues:

 These seem like a great idea, especially if you want to just put on your flares, and leave them be for a whole work week. The permanent glues work by adhering lash clusters to your natural lashes, so until the glue wears down or your natural lash sheds, the cluster will stay on. Theoretically.
Well, it does work.

However, as it goes through daily wear and tear as you apply and remove makeup, curl your lashes, etc, the glue will wear down a bit and you will find some clusters shedding earlier. This can easily be fixed by reapplying them. The bad part is where the glue loosens but does not come off. Then 2 things can happen:

  • the cluster shifts, tilts and points in the wrong direction. It's hard to apply more glue at this point, so you will most likely have to remove it and reapply.
  • the cluster is no longer stuck to your skin but is still glued to your lash. Removing it is a pain - literally, as the glue remover is not always able to dissolve it completely. I've had to cut off many a lash just to get rid of the lash cluster it's attached to.

 I personally find it much easier to just apply clusters with the regular temporary adhesives, but that's just me. A lot of women just use the permanent glue every week and replace lashes as they come off or get loose.


  1. thank you for this post. very helpful! :)

  2. Hi :)

    I'm useless applying false lashes. I've actually given up! lol

    I discovered your blog wen searching for barry M lip paint swatches :) now I can't stop reading it :)


  3. @Maria: Don't give up yet!
    I pretty much gave up a year ago as well, until a colleague who wears these big, dramatic lashes on a daily basis gave me one tip; "It's all about the glue."

    Specifically, using one that's strong enough (DUO is the best), and letting it DRY long enough - at least 60 secs or more if you're in a warmer climate - before applying, so it sticks firmly the moment you set it down.

  4. I've never had a problem with individual lashes. I apply mine once every 4-5 weeks, but I apply them under my natural lash. It makes it look more "natural" and in my experience makes them last a lot longer.

  5. Are glue safe for eye? My sister use glue for false eyelash.I found another site about eyelash. Hope it help you growth-serum-idol-lash/

  6. What do you think aboout going to the salon. Can't do it by myself and I don't wanna ask a friend all the time. And when I go to an salon, I can wear it more often, right?
    Found a salon near me, I like the results of the eyelash extensions and the microblading. Do you think they can do, cluster lashes?

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